University of Vermont

Evalution of LANDS

Intern Skill Improvement

Interns self-rate their proficiency in four natural resource skills categories at the start and end of their internship.  Categories include: a) natural resource skills, b) organizational knowledge, c) land conservation policies and tools, and d) professional skills.  Their proficiency with natural resource skills and knowledge improves over the course of their internship with LANDS.  Because the number of LANDS applicants has increased every year (from 18 in 2007 to 65 in 2009), the incoming skill level of interns accepted to the program increases each year as well. 

Intern Skill Improvement Graph 2007- 2009

Intern Feedback

 “I think the program's biggest strength … is the great diversity of project partners we meet throughout the summer. It gives an excellently broad look at the field of conservation.” ~ 2009 Intern

 “I'm sure summer jobs exist that are more relaxed, better paid, and require less from participants. I bet none of them are as rewarding and well-rounded as this one.” ~ 2009 Intern

 “Overall I think this is a fantastic program that gives students in the environmental field stellar experience and food for thought for their futures. We have done so much work, and had so much to think about at times it was overwhelming. However, this has made the LANDS experience all the more richer.” ~ 2008 Intern

 The most challenging part of the LANDS experience was at the beginning when I felt that I did not have the knowledge of the other interns. I soon came up to speed and now feel more comfortable with working as a group member and offering my opinion to my peers.” ~ 2008 Intern

 James and Emily were highly qualified, always prepared and very supportive. They created a program that is educational, purposeful and professional. They kept us busy with work, but gave us enough time to complete the tasks.” ~ 2008 Intern  

 The most challenging part was making the most out of office time and compiling all of our parts into a cohesive document. It was one of the hardest things, but also the most satisfying when we all worked together.” ~ 2008 Intern

 My overall experience in the programs has been great. I feel as though I have grown both professionally and personally. I think that I have made connections and met people that will serve me well in the future. I also think that the very broad scope of the program has actually allowed me to focus on my interests. I think that everyone in the program will find that having this experience is invaluable to their career goals.” ~ 2008 Intern

 The whole service learning model with advanced skills is terrific.  Leaning to understand how the cultural and natural histories of a place impact each other in such a “hands on” and useful way is nothing short of amazing.  Thank you.” ~ 2008 Intern

 "The LANDS summer was really a turning point in my college career.  I was out in the Field and developing a strong connection and interest to the environment I was studying in school and in the lab.... I believe that LANDS really showed me how to look at landscapes and the environment to address certain questions.  I also believe that I learned important communication skills and how to work as a team. [It was] a huge influence on my growth that summer, especially in the Field." ~ 2007 intern

“Training was great as a whole… I could’ve used more GIS learning time.” ~ 2007 Intern

 “This experience has certainly enhanced my understanding of conserved lands and the multi-dimensional field that it is.  I am more interested in pursuing potential jobs in the field.” ~ 2007 Intern


Evaluation of LANDS Products and Services
Averages of responses from 22 respondents by year    
Quality of Final Products Produced by LANDS Interns3.73.13.8
Usefulness of Final Products to your organization3.83.43.7
Professionalism of LANDS Interns3.73.63.8
Professionalism of LANDS Program Coordinators3.83.84.0
Communication between LANDS and your organization3.73.33.5
Interest in being a partner with the LANDS Program again4.03.94.0
Likelihood of recommending LANDS to other organizations4.03.93.8
1= Poor/Weak
2= Adequate/Moderate
3= Good /Strong
4= Excellent /Very Strong
Staff Hours and Expenses offset by LANDS
Sum of responses from 22 respondents total    
Estimated Staff Hours offset by LANDS interns2,514
Estimated cost for organization to complete without LANDS$55,842*
*plus 4 respondents said "priceless" or "the cost of purchasing GPS equipment and training volunteers."

Partner Feedback

 “The LANDS interns provided us with an opportunity to forge a greater relationship with UVM, to provide an educational opportunity, and to have community members see the passion that these students brought to their work. All of this makes for a very different dynamic than had a consultant done the work.” ~ City of South Burlington, 2009

 “The LANDS interns were very professional, did their research, created a quality product, and did a good job presenting this and other project summaries to the group of project partners.” ~ Charlotte Conservation Commission, 2009

 The deliverables were excellent – very professionally done and the information was exactly what we had planned to have the UVM crew obtain  The inventory work conducted by the LANDS crew will provide the GMNF staff with critical information for project planning in the Dorset Peru IRP.  The Forest Service did not have enough time, staff and money to conduct these inventories at the level that the LANDS crew conducted and documented the informationYou all did a GREAT job – this is a wonderful program and I hope we can continue to work together.  I also hope the program expands to other areas in the country.  ~ Green Mountain National Forest, 2009

 The [interns] were exceedingly professional and efficient.  I really was impressed by their approach.  Also enthusiastic, which is always nice!” ~ Lake Champlain Land Trust, 2009

 I am delighted to see a program like LANDS take off. The more young professionals have exposure to real world organizations and issues, with real projects, the better prepared they are going to be to know what it is they want to do, and be of use when they get a ‘real’ job. I would like to see programs like LANDS throughout the country.  ~ The Nature Conservancy, 2009

 The LANDS group delivered exactly what we wanted.  They completed a great deal of work that was of very high quality and they really cared about the project.  ~ USFS Northeastern Research Station, 2009

 LANDS Students helped collect landscape, soils and vegetation data in an area where forest management activities are planned in the future.  The students were quick and eager to learn, try new things, and utilize their existing skills.  They also maintained a good work attitude despite the rainy weather.  ~ Green Mountain National Forest, 2008

 The interns acted in a very professional manner. They were interested in completing both the task at hand and understanding the larger goals of the project.”  ~ Richmond Land Trust, 2008

 “The interns showed a high degree of professionalism, the enthusiasm was infective, communications were professional and timely.” ~ Jericho Underhill Land Trust, 2007

 The quality, content, and breadth of the final products exceeded our expectations.  Not only did the Shelburne Natural Resources and Conservation Committee (SNRCC) receive the natural communities, trails, and invasive plants maps that we had originally discussed with the LANDS coordinators, but we also received extensive and well-written descriptions of these features with accompanying photographs.  The final report also provided thoughtful and practical recommendations for protecting sensitive features and mitigating the adverse effects of invasive plants and trail erosion in the LaPlatte riparian corridor.”           ~ Shelburne Natural Resources and Conservation Committee, 2007

 I was particularly impressed by the level of professionalism they exhibited during the final presentation at UVM.  The presentation was polished and well put-together.  I left that evening feeling very excited about the great potential of the LANDS program, and how useful it would be to have a stewardship training program available all across the country.” ~ The Nature Conservancy, 2007


2007 Evaluation of the LANDS Program
 for the Land Trust Alliance & Student Conservation Assocation
by  James Barnes

The Land Stewardship Program

The Land Stewardship Program -
A New Model of Conservation Corps: Serving Land Trusts,
Training the Next Generation
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Last modified April 06 2011 12:03 PM

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